SPA ETIQUETTE: 7 Golden Rules

Jeanette La Caille-Hill

Saturday, March 10, 2012

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You're all excited, off to the spa for the full works, a "Top to Toe" as some spas describe a day complete with light refreshments. But what does it all mean, and are you really prepared for what is going to happen on this journey to wellness and relaxation? What should you expect? Having managed and owned a full-service day spa myself, I'm here to give you an insight into the world of spa in the modern context.

Honour your appointment: Many of us tend to be "last minute" with respect to making appointments for spa services. It is however quite important to make, confirm, and honour your appointment because it affects the smooth running of the spa's daily schedule and, by extension, scheduling other valued clients. There may be some upset of the tranquil ambience and this disturbs the equilibrium of the overall spa environment. You may even be charged for short notice cancellation. It is always suggested that you arrive at least 15 mins prior to your appointment in order to fill out any client forms which are vital to a professional service and ensure no allergic reactions or other breach of health concerns.

Get a babysitter: A spa is where many go to escape from the daily stresses. That includes new mums and the last thing one wants to hear is a child crying.

Request a therapist: The main concern of the spa is your well-being and satisfaction, and it is important to the spa that you are happy with the service and the therapist performing the treatment. Be sure to ask for a male or female therapist, should you have a preference. Always practice booking your appointment in advance in order to have the therapist you prefer.

Turn off the gadgets: Despite the demands of family and work, for the purposes of having a truly rejuvenating experience, it is highly recommended that you turn off all gadgets, including your phone, once you enter the spa. Not only would loud ringtones and constant talking disturb other clients, but it is very distracting to the therapist who is concentrating on a healing protocol. Needless to say, the world can live without you and you without the world for an hour or two.

Take a shower: Depending on the treatment booked, in particular a facial, massage or waxing, it would be better to shower before the treatment. This ensures that excess pollutants are rinsed off and you freshen up before products are applied. The general rule here should be to approach the spa treatment as an interaction with close physical contact, and therefore cleanliness is imperative. Always remember that the products used, both during and after the treatment is finished, are meant to protect that area of the body and should be left on for several hours.

Bare that body: Although not absolutely necessary and many spas offer disposable underwear and robes for full-service days, spa treatments are best enjoyed when you remove all clothing, jewellery and make-up. Opt for total nudity, especially during massage and other body treatments, as it promotes complete relaxation and it allows the therapist to work freely on your body. It is however the norm that the therapist covers you and only exposes the specific area being worked on, as this guarantees comfort and modesty.

Eat 1hr before: Eating a heavy meal just before or while at the spa is an absolute no-no. Always eat one hour before spa services, where you must lie down for an extended period. Most spas offer light refreshments, such as tea and water with fruit or nuts, in cases where you need a little nibble to tide you over.

Tips are welcome: The practice of tipping is nothing new, however, it is based on the satisfaction level with the service received. Never feel obligated to give huge tips just because. Always reward excellent service and maintenance of an exceptionally high standard of sanitation and performance of treatments with a tip of at least 10% of the cost.

The spa and wellness industry is committed to your overall well-being and strives to offer the highest level of service and client satisfaction possible. Without you, the client, there would be no business. Know and practice the golden rules associated with good spa etiquette and have a fabulous spa experience whether at a day spa in Kingston or a resort spa.

Jeanette La Caille-Hill is a beauty and wellness expert and qualified aesthetician. She operates the exclusive distributorship for SOTHYS, Paris professional skincare and body treatment line in Jamaica. Contact her at 536-7640 or e-mail her at sothysjamaica@ with questions and comments.




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